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This is an exercise from Genki 1, Chapter 12.

Now the way I would word that sentence is: 私{わたし}は日本{にほん}に勉強{べんきょう}しに行{い}きます。 However, I put that same [English] phrase in Google Translate and got this: 私は日本に[留学]{りゅうがく}つもりです。 So now I'm not sure which translation is correct. Since the exercise didn't specify, we'll assume that the person is studying the Japanese Language.

So which one is correct? My translation or Google's translation?

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What is the English sentence which you are trying to translate? (In my opinion, you should have written the English sentence from the beginning, even before anyone asks.) –  Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 23 '11 at 20:53
    
The sentence is: I am going to Japan to study. –  dotnetN00b Oct 23 '11 at 20:57
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“The sentence is: I am going to study.” Well, if that had been really the English sentence which you were trying to translate, then I would not have posted my previous comment. Both your Japanese translation and the translation by Google contain “日本に,” which does not appear in the English sentence which you state. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 23 '11 at 21:02
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Ever since I found translation.babylon.com I don't trust translate.google.com anymore ;) –  Lukman Oct 24 '11 at 0:39
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fyi for anything but the simplest pre-set statements, you can't trust google translate. i only use it to get phonetic translations and even then it's faulty –  yadokari Oct 24 '11 at 16:21
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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I am going to Japan to study: 日本に勉強しに行く

I am going to Japan to study the Japanese language: 日本に[日本語]{にほんご}を勉強しに行く

I intend to study in Japan: 日本に留学するつもりです (留学 has the added meaning of "overseas study")

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日本語の勉強しに行く should be 日本語を勉強しに行く. 日本語の勉強しに行く is colloquial at best. Because 勉強し is a verb, it cannot be modified by the phrase 日本語の, which can only modify a noun. See a related question: Can a noun + suru have an adjective modify the noun as well? –  Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 24 '11 at 15:39
    
@TsuyoshiIto: It is colloquial, but very common, by を-dropping from 日本語の勉強をしに行く. To exaggerate a bit, no-one really uses を unless speaking formally. (Of course in that case, it still functions as a noun+suru, not as a nominal verb, so no verb complements or modifiers like objects or adverbs). –  Amadan Oct 26 '11 at 16:19
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@Amadan: Really? I doubt it because the verb 勉強する is preferred over the phrase 勉強をする in casual context. The sentence 日本語の勉強をしに行く sounds too formal in a context where dropping を is acceptable, and 日本語の勉強しに行く gives me a contradictory impression about its formality. –  Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 26 '11 at 16:34
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@TsuyoshiIto: You have a point, I stand corrected. –  Amadan Oct 26 '11 at 16:45
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日本に勉強しに行く simply means "I'm going to Japan to study", but lacks any specifics like what you are going to study (though this might be obvious depending on the surrounding context), or how long are you going there (drop by for an afternoon, study, then leave? A few days? weeks? etc.)

私は日本に留学するつもりです means "I intend to study abroad in Japan". Although less is said, a lot more is implied. First, a lengthy period of time. You don't go study abroad for a few days or a few weeks (possible, I suppose, but not common); studying abroad is usually measured in semesters or years. Second, when studying abroad in a country where the native language is not the same as yours, one is most likely studying abroad in this county specifically to study the language. In this case, Japan is the only Japanese-speaking country in the world, so saying you're going to study abroad there implies you're going to study the language. If it were something else (assuming you were already fluent enough in Japanese, and you were going to do collaborative doctoral studies in some field), you'd need to explicitly state what the field was. Likewise, if your native language is English and you say you're going to study abroad in England, you're not going to study the English language, and saying イギリスに留学する is ambiguous about your field of study.

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If you use a noun with tsumori, is it not required to be Nのつもり? Also, since you're using the particle に, wouldn't you need to use a verb with it? (留学するつもり) –  Nathan Ellenfield Oct 27 '11 at 12:40
    
Yes, should be 留学するつもり. I copied it from the original post which is a typo but I didn't notice. I don't think you can use つもり with a know AFAIK. –  istrasci Oct 27 '11 at 14:35
    
Of course, I think that many study-abroad programs offer classes in the students' native language and are supplemented by language classes at the host university. You are very likely to study Japanese if you are studying abroad in Japan, but you also may have a number of other classes that are taught in English... –  Chris Frederick Oct 28 '11 at 4:57
    
@Chris - true, but my point is you'd never say, "Hey, I'm going to Japan to study English." –  istrasci Oct 28 '11 at 15:01
    
I'd like to see any back up of the claim that 留学 implies language study. I know several 留学生 studying in Japan, where language study is not part of the curriculum. Sure, when you study abroad, language is an obvious candidate subject, but that is no more the case for 留学 than for 勉強しに行く. –  dainichi Jan 27 '12 at 1:14
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